Good morning everyone. Had my first cup of Java. Looks like a beautiful day here in Pennsylvania and I don’t work. Well I’m working in my sewing room but that’s not work. Remember to practice detachment today. No matter what you are doing or how people treat you don’t become angry or emotionally upset. Abandon ego. If you do become upset just be aware that you are upset. Just be with it and practice your breathing. It will soften and leave you in peace. Loving Kindness, compassion, Joy and detachment to all of you.
Back, yoke pieces, and front pieces sewn together.
Yoke pieces and back sewn together
Left front piece with pocket sewn on.
One of the great teachings of Chan (Zen) Buddhism is that good and bad arise together. You often hear people being critical of charity organizations, churches, monasteries, etc. only being about money. In this world of samsara that’s the way it is. Institutions can only exist if they have the financial resources. That’s why often people become board members and advisors who may not be the most qualified spiritually but provide financial support. Without the financial support there would be no monastery, no church, no center to provide teaching to all of the people who are totally submerged in the material world of things and pleasure. This is all part of an understanding of the oneness, the totality, the interconnectedness of all things. We are so conditioned to look at things in an analytical way that we miss the reality of oneness. And yes where there is money sometimes temptation leads people to impropriety. Where there are humans there is often sexual attraction and behavior that is considered immoral. This should not cause us to discard the teachings and truths that lead to enlightenment. We should always have compassion for those who were unable to resist temptation and be grateful for the teachings. Just sharing some thoughts. Loving Kindness, Compassion, Joy and detachment to you all.
Was reading about how people hurry and scurry around and what it’s all about. For most people it’s about aquiring things and protecting self and possessions. So it’s really about selfish desire. Do you ask yourself ‘why am I doing this?’ ‘What am I thinking?’ All of us who try to follow the Mahayana path should ask ‘are we doing what we should be doing to help all beings find liberation from suffering?’ The really difficult thing for me is to know what really is “skillful means” to help others understand what this liberation is all about. It seems that people are just so conditioned to believe in the material world of possessing things and looking good that I sometimes just feel as though it’s useless to try to get them to understand. But I am committed to the Mahayana vow “Beings are numberless I vow to save them all.” so I continue to meditate and try to live a life that is an example of peace and joy. Loving Kindness, Compassion, Joy and detachment to all of you
The first week of September I attended a seven day silent retreat at Springwater Retreat Center in Springwater, Ny. The center was started by Toni Packer who had been a teacher at the Rochester Zen Center. Toni had abandoned the rituals and most of the practices of Zen Buddhism and eventually dropped the name Buddhism and finally the name Zen from the name of the center. Like most people I have wondering thoughts about many things and Springwater was no different. I had often thought about the teachings of Hui-neng, the sixth Patriarch of Chan who taught that we all have perfect Buddhanature and it is only through our attachments to the external world via the senses (Skandhas) that we are unable to realize our true nature. So why do we need a teacher? Other Chan masters had taught that as long as we go looking for enlightenment outside of ourselves we will never find it. So I often questioned the teaching of linage and transmission as just a way of keeping followers along with their donations to the monasteries or centers. Of course this is just a way of dualistic thinking which we should drop as true Chan Buddhists. Haha. Whenever we start using words and logic we see how impossible it is to explain the experience of reality. Lucky for us we know that they are just fingers pointing at the Truth.
Anyway the first few days at Springwater I questioned how they expected those attending to know what was going on. Sandra Gonzalez gave talks everyday. She talked about the pure meditative awareness that Toni taught. And most importantly she’s a lovely person who you cannot help but like. But I kept thinking would I understand this if I hadn’t spent my life studying and meditating. There is a mystical element to awareness, enlightenment or whatever you want to call it. At least in my mind. And it seems to me that without reading about the many mystics who have had this experience I would never be able to understand my own experience which began when I was a teenager sitting by the Conewago Creek in rural Pennsylvania. But there is no doubt there is an experience that takes us beyond the suffering in this life and takes us beyond the fear of death.
Well my wondering thoughts continued and I thought about how most retreats at Zen Centers are geared toward teaching beginners how to still their minds and learn the basics of meditation. Sometimes there are teachings about the basics of Buddhism such as the five skandhas, the eight consciouses, dependent origination, the doors of liberation, etc. Just realizing that I don’t often see teaching on the very basic four noble truths including the eightfold path. One can learn more about these in the Theravada tradition. So finally I thought about the Buddha’s teaching that Buddhism is like a raft and we abandon it when it has served it’s purpose. This led me to thinking of Springwater as a wonderful graduate school where people have reached the other shore and abandoned the raft. Some perhaps have been able to experience Hui-neng’s sudden enlightenment and have somehow reached the other shore without ever needing the raft. Jesus walked on water and Master Sheng Yen who founded Dharmadrum center, in one of his books says that some people are enlightened without knowing it. Anyway I had a wonderful experience and look forward to returning.
Good morning everyone. Having my coffee. Remember every time we get angry it’s a reminder. We still have work to do. We need to let go of ego and understand that those who do things that make ego angry are living unenlightened lives and are suffering. Wish loving kindness to all beings. Wish for them to find the way to liberation from suffering. Loving Kindness, Compassion, Joy, and equanimity to all.
Good morning everyone. Having my coffee….. awwww. Hope you have a wonderful day. Remember to keep your mind stable. Thought after thought keep positive and wish good things for all beings. To live with anger, greed, and fear is to live in hell. Choose Heaven. Loving Kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity to all.
Even our thoughts about Zen and the method and enlightenment are just thoughts in our head. They too cause suffering.